The photo that saved my daughter's life.

Our Story

August 8, 2008. I remember spending most of the morning deliberating what kind of shoes to buy. My wife Megan, one-year-old daughter Rowan, and I had just moved to Tampa, Florida. As I was preparing to start my new job with the University of South Florida, I considered new shoes an important part of my pending professional preparatory process. My quiet time with coffee, computer, and images of shoes (and, after shoes, ice cream, for Rowan's sake, of course), was interrupted by my wife hysterically running at me, shaking her computer and yelling "LOOK AT THIS!!!"

"This" was a link to a website on retinoblastoma, including a picture of white eye reflex.

Some backstory here: For a little more than a week Meg had noticed that Rowan's left eye was slightly changing color from a light blue to a sea green. As first-time parents, we weren't sure if this was normal (it wasn't covered in the manual), so Meg posted a question to her group, a social network putting parents-to-be in contact with other expectant parents with a similar due date. It seemed that other parents had not experienced spontaneous eye color change and requested a picture. As you can see, what is distinctive about the photograph is the "white eye reflex" instead of the more typical red eye reflex. Meg and I had noticed this once or twice before in Rowan's pictures, but dismissed it as an odd reflection (and the internet will tell you it is an odd reflection about 99% of the time). One mom, Madeline Robb from Manchester, England, noticed the picture and remembered an acquaintance's ordeal years earlier. Specifically, she remembered how white eye reflex can be, in rare cases, a sign of a serious medical problem. She did an internet search and reluctantly sent us the email and link appearing on the next screen.